Monday, October 30, 2006

The One Where I Come Back to Life

Hello, Dear Readers. :)

I've been a very bad Blogger of late, as you've no doubt noticed. Perhaps I can blame part of this on my depression over
Sir Kay leaving the Blogging scene. Although in actuality, I guess it's mostly because I have been busy.

Today was GORGEOUS. Mostly the weather around here has been very poopy - wet, cold, blah. But today was just lovely. We opened up all the windows and I washed a bunch of them and took out screens and washed the icky green stuff off from around the edges. Blech. Yesterday we raked a bunch of leaves and did a little leaf-jumping and trampoline jumping.

I've been reading and scrapping lately - doing my class assignments, though, as always, I can't follow instructions, so I just pretend I'm a pirate and treat them as guidelines.

I also finished up Fishy's Aang costume. Yes, we'll do the arrow on his head, as well as on his hands and feet. We did a dry run a couple of weeks ago and it came out great.

Tomorrow is the Lemony Snicket book signing, so we're all excited about that. That's way better than trick-or-treating! A bunch of us TKD homeschoolers are planning to go together. The kids want to go as Volunteers Fighting Disease, sing him a tiny snippet of the song and give him a heart-shaped balloon. ;) Will they be brave enough?

Oh, I know where else I've been! Mine cart surfing, ice fishing, sledding, playing mancala and connect four, taking care of puffles -- yes, we've discovered the evils of Club Penguin. Oy! Now that is addicting. Sat night, the girls and I were all sled racing with each other. I got my butt kicked at Mancala by one of Mollusc's online friends, and I whupped some other booties as I got better. Come to our house this week and you're likely to hear us shouting to those on various computers, "meet me at The Mountain" or "come to the coffee shop for mancala!" or "your puffle looks really upset! You'd better feed him!" If you, too, get sucked in and happen to see H2g2guin waddling around there, be sure to say hello. :)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The One With the Brilliant Title

I stayed home sick on Monday because A) I was trying to be responsible and not put my fevered face in those of my little students, thus spreading the joy of my illness and B) even the thought of doing jumping jacks with the way my head felt was enough to make me hide under the covers. So I let them know I wouldn't be in, took some amazing Chinese sore throat medicine we'd just bought, as well as some zinc (all I could find were zinc lollipops) and some echinacea/eyebright and echinacea/astragalus and buried myself under the supersoft blanket and duvet. A few hours later, I re-emerged a much happier and better-feeling, fever-free woman. In fact, I almost felt like I had cheated a little I was doing so much better. I swear that Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa stuff has magical powers. Plus, it tastes REALLY GOOD. I drank ginger tea throughout the day, just in case of a relapse. Today was Crazy Tuesday and I felt good, even during class and some kick-butt sparring. Actually, it wasn't my butt that got kicked, but the other side. Really, really hard. :-P

In other unrelated news, we watched
Click, which was surprisingly poignant, and very good, as well as American Dreamz, which sucked ass in spite of its Hugh Grant and Dennis Quaidness. I mean, for one thing, what kind of comedy kills off a protagonist at the end? In a non-funny way? But there was plenty more to gripe about than just that. It had all-around suck-factor. Gwillem's (he's from Appleton?!?!?!) physical appearance was shocking, considering that the last thing I'd seen him in was Boondock Saints, which has to be one of his best roles. (And really, people, what are you waiting for??)

I am FINALLY on the new Thomas Covenant book, having painfully slogged through the old series for the third (and final?) time, and having finished them in spite of continually putting them down to read other, less annoying books. I thought those books rocked the first 2 times around, but this time they have lost their lustre. The new one, however, is far less annoying as Donaldson seems to have misplaced
his thesaurus. Hallelujah, Jaffar!!

I also just finished the Mermaid Chair, which was freaking awesome. I think it's my favourite Kidd book yet. I cried unabashedly at the end (OK, I attempted to do it covertly, and therefore, abashedly, to tell the truth) not because it was sad, but just because it was such a poignant (there's that word again -- that's twice in one post -- have I no shame -- have I no thesaurus?) book.

I've got nothing to follow such a great book, so here, my Dear Reader, is where I shall leave you until next time.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

For Your Eyes Only

Sometimes I forget that this is the (greater) Motor City (area.) And then something happens to remind me.

I was involved in intrigue and subterfuge this weekend driving chase for a secret new convertible. Neat-o. GuTTer MuNKi had to pick up a certain new car, by a certain car company and bring it home for transfer to another state. As required by the rules, there had to be a chase vehicle, and, as fate would have it, that chase vehicle was piloted by yours truly.

The new car designs are always heavily camoed while they are being driven around for teasing testing and data collection purposes. They have canvas tarp stuff strapped all over them, (I haven't actually seen any camo jobs that ugly IRL) with strategic mesh windows for things like brake lights, headlights and the license plate. (Here in MI you only have a rear plate.) In addition, this one had been painted matte black - at least in the few exposed areas.

My only instructions: stay behind the vehicle, and ram anyone off the road who appeared to be taking pics.

I did notice one guy doing a serious double take and nearly wrecking his SUV as he passed by, but since he didn't appear to have a camera, I was not forced to annihilate him. Which is just as well, since I don't have double-0 clearance (not to be confused for even a millisecond with multiple-O clearance) and I'm not really sure how hard to ram someone just in order to maim.

The beast was parked in our (newly cleaned out) garage overnight. Don't imagine for a second that I didn't think about undressing it and snapping some nude photos to sell to Road and Track or Car and Driver. What a bidding war that could have been. But then I would have had to annihilate the contact to protect my identity, and since I don't have that double-0 clearance. . .

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Sucky Blogger

I'll admit it, I've been a sucky blogger of late - not getting 'round to your blogs nearly as often as I'd like. And no HNT today, even.

Dialogue from today while I was teaching and the kids were playing in the entryway/watching a DVD in the office.

After-School TKD student: *click click click click click* (with his tongue)

Me: *not noticing*

Boy: Am I annoying you yet?

Me: Dude, you forget - I have 4 kids. It's only when there's NOT noise that I start to worry.

Boy: Oh, yeah. *pause* So, really, this is kind of like a vacation.


The Long-Awaited Recipe

OK, I'm finally getting my act together here. Even though I WILL be teaching again this afternoon. Who loves you? :)


This is from a mag called "The Best of fine Cooking Chocolate" which can apparently be had from Costco for $6.00 ish. It is PACKED with scrummy-looking stuff, so I recommend running right out and buying one.


4.5 oz (1 c) all-puropse flour
1 oz (1/4 c + 2 T) unsweetened natural cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t table salt
1/4 lb (1/2 c) unsalted butter, melted and warm
1 1/4 c packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 t pure vanilla extract
1/2 c hot water
1 c warm ganache (recipe to follow)

Position a rack in the lower 3rd of the oven and heat to 350 degrees (F). Grease the bottom of an 8x2 or 9x2 inch round pan or line it with parchment.

In a small bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Sift only if cocoa remains lumpy after the whisking. In a large bowl, combine the melted butter and brown sugar with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Add the eggs and vanilla; stir until well blended. Add the flour mixture all at once and stir just until all the flour is moistened. Pour the hot water over the batter; stir just until it's incorporated and the batter is smooth. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean - about 30 mins for a 9" pan (33 for mine); 35-40 mins for an 8" pan. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 10 mins. Run a thin knife around the edge and invert the cake. Invert it again onto the rack and let cool completely.

Once cool, set the rack over a baking sheet or foil. Pour the warm ganach over the cake and use an icing spatula to spread it over the top and down the sides. Let set for about an hour before serving. (HA!)

I actually just invert is straight onto the cake plate, let cool, pour on a bunch of ganache and jiggle it 'til it's covered.


1/2 lb bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 c heavy cream; more as needed
Granulated sugar (optional)

Put the chocolate in a medium heatproof, bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk gently until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. (If using a 70% bittersweet chocolate, the ganache might be a bit thick; add more cream, a tablespoon at a time, to thin it. You might also want to add a couple of teaspoons of sugar when you add the hot cream.)

I have another TOPS lab coming in the mail, so I'm stalking the postman. The kids are LOVING the pendulum labs. The math patterns one is also a hit. We have a Sir Walter Raleigh vid from the library I keep meaning to watch with them. It's about the "Orinoco Disaster." (I just ordered a bunch of Raleigh stuff from the library when we got to him in our book.) Do you think I should show them the BlackAdder Potato episode as part of the study of Raleigh? }:-) Muahaha!!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Joys of Fall and Random Pics

More a piccy post than anything tonight. . .

I've been playing with various ISO settings on the camera. I like the candle in this one. :)

I love Fall.

Prawnie breaking her board on Saturday. . .

and so proud of her new belt. :)

This guy would not pass the CA smog test:

Mollusc swears his license plate was on fire. :-P

I'm not a fan of lights hanging from power lines strung all across the road. In WI, pretty much everything is buried. In MI, not so much. I think it's because of the much stronger union presence here (more work for them when the lines come down due to wind, ice, etc., which is NOT an infrequent occurrence. :-/ )

More leaf jumping, this time by The (Incredible, Flying) Slug:

Another reason to love Fall - baking is so appealing. :) This is the first time I've ever made a ganache. The true colour of the cake is in between the first cake pic and this one.

Stop by and have some fudge cake. :-)

Are the power lines strung or buried where you live?

Sunday, October 15, 2006


An update in the goings on in my life:

A good friend and I are taking an online class (my first ever) from
Big Picture Scrapbooking called "Darci Loves Doodlebug." One of the reasons I signed up for this class was so that I could justify to myself the purchase of some of Doodlebug's nifty products. I am failing miserably. I went in to the scrapbook store the other day to get some project supplies and ended up back where I always go - the clearance section. Yes, Doodlebug makes some of the cutest stuff around - whimsical, fun, cheery - but I just can't bring myself to pay the kind of prices on the tags, which is, presumably, the amount of money they are asking for each item. Instead, I keep defaulting to stuff I have or stuff I can get cheaper. The hell with it. I'm renaming this class "Candy Loves Clearance" and pressing on with glory.

The Prawn tested Saturday (technically yesterday) for Senior Yellow belt. She TOTALLY rocked!! She was the youngest one testing and did quite a bit better than some of the other kids there. Go PRAWN!! She nailed every question and her form, too. The only problem she had was during blocking sets when she watched the boys beside her. She knows the sets perfectly, but watching them do it wrong messed her up. She did finally do them right, once she got ahead of them timing-wise. Pics to follow when it's not 3:30 am, and I'm not on the couch with 2 sleepless kids (1 feeling a bit off and the other awoken by our noise.)

Blogging remains a guilty pleasure for me, as do all things online. I love learning new things, looking stuff up, etc. but it sure is way too easy to get sucked in and then not have time to do anything with more lasting results like WRITING! :-/ 3:30 am, however, is perfect since there's nothing else I can do very well in the dark. Well, not while
GuTTer MuNKi is conked out anyway. OK, writing would work. Arrrgh! Well, it IS kinda hard to see the keyboard.

Current musical interests I plan to further explore:

Sting's new album

The Fray

On Friday we bought the final Lemony Snicket book. Mollusc and I read it immediately - trading back and forth as we did various things throughout the day. Mollusc was a little disappointed, as she and I had both been hoping for a specific thing to happen that never did, but I think that overall it was a satisfying ending. Sunny is in top form and nearly all (if not actually all) of her utterances have a real meaning. I plan to Google some of the more obscure ones. Very, VERY entertaining. :) I think that she says something in Hebrew at one point, and then of course there are the French and Japanese words/phrases as well as some mythological allusions. Now, of course Mollusc and I are making constant references to peer pressure and detritus, and doing our best to work things with the initials V.F.D. into our conversations.

I hope they don't make any more movies out of these books. :-P

If we all survive the night and go on to have a healthy day, which actually seems possible as no one has a fever or anything, I think we're going to go to a nearby apple orchard tomorrow/today. GuTTer MuNKi has plans to make apple jelly and/or apple butter among other things. (get it? ^_^ )

Thursday, October 12, 2006



Bloody snow, I tell you.

On the ground. Covering it. All white-like and that.

I mean, really.

I honestly thought that
GuTTer MuNKi was joking when he announced it this morning. Then I thought it was his blindness helping him to mistake patchy frost for an entire blanket of white snow covering the ground. I was wrong, dammit.

Two days ago, my elbow was hurting. This would be the elbow that is now the wrong shape because I injured it when I was 8. Long story, but it involved a bamboo scaffolding, 2 accomplices, and a lot of pain. I won't bore you with the details.

This elbow is handy for 2 things. 1) It can reach around corners. VERY handy for reaching back between the seats to hand stuff to the kids in the car. 2) It's a weather predictor. More specifically, a precipitation predictor. 2 days before precipitation, it aches like a BIG dog. Bleh. But sorta handy since the weather guessers suck so bad.

When my elbow predicted a storm for today, I really thought it was going to be rain. It's probably all my fault for feeling smug when my mom said they were supposed to get snow in WI today.

Keep your eye on the sky. Never know what you might see up there.

*50 points to Gryffindor or the house of your choice if you can get my title acronym. It's pretty easy, IMO, but LMK if you can't get it. I know that GMTA so at least one of you is bound to figure it out.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Short & Sweet

Sunday -- gorgeous -- too nice to just stay in the house.

So we head to Kensington park. Butterflies flutter by in their search for sweet nectar.

If you come along next time we go, watch for rattlers.

And bring some seeds to feed the birds.

A Very Serious Indie Film

Please only watch this if you are a very, very serious person like me.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Not a Political Post

Happy Nuclear Weapons Day, and a big congratulations to North Korea for officially joining the "I'm a little asshat with a big chip on my shoulder" club. OK, they were really in years ago, but they've finally paid their membership dues.

In celebration of this momentous event, why not join me in making your own acronym?

U.N. =

Undertake Nothing

Upset Nobody

Underscore Nukes

Undecidedly Neutered

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Just a Few Things

Today was a High Rise Glorious, Skittle-skat Roarious Sky Pie Angel Food day. Indian summer. We spent a lot of the day at Kensington park soaking up the sun, breeze and birdsong, feeding the chickadees and titmice, watching the little red squirrels and the fat grey ones, playing with a snake, smelling the sweet air and watching the golden leaves flutter down all around us.

After this glorious day out, we invaded the TKD gym so Gutter MuNKi and I could practice poomse (forms), one-step-sparring, and self-defense. We also had a rousing batch of games of dodgeball with the chilluns.

Once home, GuTTer MuNKi made his patented Bajingo Chicken, and I ate exactly as I'd vowed not to.

Pictures will be forthcoming. In the meantime, I'm drinking Hurricaines and watching Notting Hill for the umpteenth time.

If you're feeling peckish or creative, I invite you to check out the new addition to my sidebar -->
entitled (Make Your Own) Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Tag, I'm it!

Sighsofmylife tagged me with the "5 songs you'd want played at your funeral" meme.

Well, first off, that's assuming I do someday shuffle off this mortal coil. In the event that this should actually happen (and I have my doubts, but I may be surprised in the end) I don't want a funeral, per se. I'd much rather that if folks were going to get together in my memory, that they'd remember how much I like to laugh and just have a big ol' party. Solemnity does not become me, and I rarely become solemn, so a funeral just would not be in keeping with the "spirit" of me. (ha ha)

OK, so the first one that leaps to mind is:

Pipes, by The Boondock Saints

Bagpipes, guitar, very upbeat, pseudo-Irish - what's not to love? Let the drinking begin!

2) The
Night Pat Murphy Died, by Great Big Sea.

This is a funny song, and should be accompanied by more adult beverages. By now people are loosened up enough for plenty of heartfelt stomping and dancing.

Save the Last Dance for Me, Michael Bublé version

Time to let folks catch their breath just a little, but again, it's an upbeat, hopeful song, a dancing song, and
GuTTer MuNKi will appreciate my other intentions for using this. ;)

Another Irish Drinking Song, by DaVinci's Notebook (It's in small type beside the brontosaurus picture, sandwiched between "Enema Countdown" and "Enormous Penis." )

Guaranteed to make everyone laugh, throw up, pass out, wake up again and drink it all once more. This one's so much fun, I have to post all the lyrics:

Another Irish Drinking Song

Gather ’round, ye lads and lasses, set ye for a while
And hearken to me mournful tale about the Emerald Isle
Let’s all raise our glasses high to friends and family gone
And lift our voices in another Irish drinking song

Consumption took me mother and me father got the pox
Me brother drank the whiskey ’til he wound up in a box
Me other brother in the Troubles met with his demise
Me sister has forever closed her smiling Irish eyes


Now everybody’s died
So until our tears are dried
We’ll drink and drink and drink and drink, and then we’ll drink some more
We’ll dance and sing and fight until the early morning light
Then we’ll throw up, pass out, wake up, and then go drinking once again

Kenny was killed in Kilkenny and Claire, she died in Clare
Tip from Tipperary died out in the Derry air
Shannon jumped into the River Shannon back in June
Ernie fell into the Erne, and Tom is in the Toome

“Cleanliness is godliness” me Uncle Pat would sing
He broke his neck a’slippin’ on a bar of Irish Spring
O’Grady, he was 80 though his bride was just a pup
He died upon the honeymoon when she got his Irish up


Joe Murphy fought with Reilly near the cliffss of old Doneen
He took out his shillelagh and he stabbed him in the spleen
Well, Crazy Uncle Mike believed he was a leprechaun , but in fact he’s just a leper, and his arms and legs are gone
When Timmy Johnson broke his neck it was a cryin’ shame
He wasn’t really Irish, but he went to Notre Dame
McNamara crossed the street and by a bus was hitBut he was just a Scotsman, so nobody gave a sh-(OCHHHH!)

Me drunken Uncle Brendan tried to drive home from the bar
The road rose up to meet him when he fell out of his car
Irony was what befell my great-grand Uncle Sam
He choked upon the very last potato in the land

Conor lived in Ulster town, he used to smuggle arms
Until the British killed him and cut off his lucky charms
And dear old Father Flanagan, who left the lord’s employ
Drunk on sacramental wine, beneath the altar boy


Someday soon I’ll leave this world of pain and toil and sin
The Lord will take me by the hand to join all of me kin
Me only wish is when the Savior comes for me and you
(a tempo)
He kills the cast of Riverdance, and Michael Flatley too

5) My last slot. This is always the tough part, isn't it? I thought of a song I got from Winters, "J'ai quitte mon pays" but it's too melancholy for this, beautiful though it is. I thought of "So Long, Jimmy" by James Blunt, but it's not quite bouncy enough, either. Oooh, I know!

"It's the End of the World as We Know It" by Great Big Sea. Heh! That ought to about wrap things up. What about you?

Friday, October 06, 2006


Just a bunch of pics for now.

Things I didn't plant:

Come for a walk with us:

It's dark in the woods,

but there are patches of dappled sunlight.

Look up.

Look down.

Look out for giant mushrooms!

And don't touch the poison ivy!

Take a break on one of the bridges before we head home to jump in the leaves.

Come and play with us!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Partial Moon HNT

Here's the bookend. Not too exciting, IMO, but I'm still loving the thong thing.

Tonight in TKD we did forms blindfolded and then we did forms backwards. OK, we TRIED to do forms backwards. I promptly came home and practiced. I'm getting much better. I can't say the alphabet backwards past ZYX without a lot of thought - that's just not how my brain works - so this is quite a challenge for me. :-P

Not much other news. I have a ton of yummy photos I need to go through and maybe I'll post some. Anything has to be more interesting than my ass.

I bought a Rick Astley CD for a buck at the resale shop today. Remember him? The guy with the voice that was waaaaay too big for his - er - self? And it's not really deep; it's more - wide. I'm not sure it was worth a whole buck. Sometimes I should just let memories stay memories. I'd forgotten about all the crappy stuff going on in the background - weird 80s trumpets - more like trumpets-Lite. :-/ (Not to be confused with
Trumpitt.) I also scored some pants* for Mollusc, which is why we went there in the first place. Turns out she had only 2 pairs that fit now that the colder weather is here and we're breaking out the warmer stuff. For 32 bucks, I got her 3 pairs of pants (including adjustable waist jeans - you might remember how much I adore those button tab thinggies - 3rd pic down) 2 heavy sweatshirts and a longsleeved T, as well as a pair of posh jammies and 2 shirts for Slug. Oh, and said crappy CD. Not too bad, eh? I do love our resale shop. :)

*Brits, please read "trousers" here. I would NOT buy used undies. Honest. Especially not for $4.50 a pair!

Technically Thursday

But my HNT won't be 'til later. It will be the bookend, as promised, to last week's.

Today was a great follow-up to Crazy Tuesday. The Prawn woke up asking, "Is it tomorrow??" She was excited because we were having friends over today. My friend made
bibimbap for lunch, and then we surfed fun sites of all kinds while our collective 6 children set fire to the livingroom and parachuted from the balcony with plastic bags. A generally good time was had by all. Egan plonked us during a particularly challenging round of an online children's word game. We had just offered up "sh-t" ("Oops, that's not a word"), "fart" ("That word is not allowed") and "vagina" (SCORE!!!!) which we promptly lost, and we tormented him with moronic questions about macchiatos, cappucinos, and lattes. (Honestly - do any of you know what a macchiato is? Would the description "upside-down cappucino" have helped you? If not, please join me in throwing things at Egan.) We laughed until we cried, which had to be healthy for both of us.

I have not yet started my Terry Pratchett books (back to that pleasure-delayer thing) as I'm making myself finish the Alex Rider books first (OK, so those are really fun, too) and am still doing the last old Covenant book so I can tell my friend Eric (the only person I know IRL who has read them) that I'm finally through again. Also, I need to go back to my list from
Trundling Grunt and see which to start with out of the ones I have.

I have pictures to post, but alas, you get none tonight as I am already in bed.

Mr. Depraved (aka GuTTer MuNKi) and I watched Elizabethtown tonight, which had some delightfully quirky humour and a lot of really good music. My friend lent me a whole folder-full of DVDs. Which should I watch next - The 13th Warrior, Waiting for Guffman, Hi Dharma, Firewall? I think there are more, but I forget the rest.

I've run out of things to say, so -- FOODFIGHT AT EGAN'S BLOG!!!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Crazy Tuesday Again!!

By the time most of you read this, it will be Crazy Tuesday again for me. OTOH sometimes that means that I am NOT going to accomplish anything in my short stints at home, so why not chat with my friends? Unless I'm digging Legos out of toilets or something. (please, no. . .) So maybe I WILL see you tomorrow.

Yesterday we hit "BARGAIN BOOKS" for the first time. It's a very seedy-looking warehouse type place in Brighton full of tables and tables of cheap books. In other words, Heaven. I stayed for Mass and Confession, and on into Vespers, leaving with a few bagsful of books, to include 2 Terry Pratchetts (
Small Gods and The Last Continent) a couple of Shakespeare plays with notes and/or modern Eng version alongside, a backup copy of H2G2 (can't be reading the Holy one signed by DA since the spine's already looking a bit had) and a bunch of other goodies. Oh, and the Alex Rider books. (boxed set of the 1st 4) Mollusc and I are currently battling each other for those. We've both finished #1 and I've started (and promptly hidden) #2. }:-) Heh, heh, heh. If you or your kids enjoy Artemis Fowl, I think you'll love these, too. :-) LMK if you try them.

Today we went to the library, too. So I'm having a total bookgasm, and can't believe I'm Blogging right now. Pleasure-delayer. *shrug*